Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Miami Views and Good Friends

Another year…another trip!  Continuing on our Florida trip, we cruised on down south along US Highway A1A and US 1 all the way to Miami.  We're going to stay with Dawn Marie and explore southeast Florida…while at the same time ensuring that she actually took a little time off from her demanding career as a retail consultant…

This is a view from Dawn Marie’s balcony in downtown Miami.  This is part of Biscayne Bay, with the American Airlines Arena in the foreground. 

The arena is the home of the Miami Heat.  The arena was finished and opened for business in 2000 and it seats 20,000 fans.  Lots of other events are staged here as well… Disney on Ice, a WWE Raw Super Show, Coldplay and Madonna, as well as a number of top Latin performers are scheduled to appear here in 2012.  Certainly, Dawn has lots of entertainment available at her doorstep!  For more on the arena, go to

This view is east over Biscayne Bay to Miami Beach and South Beach.  As you can see, 4 large cruise liners are departing the harbor at the same time.  I was startled to learn that 1 out of every 7 cruises departs from Miami.  There are 8 cruise line passenger terminals and they handled 4,330,000 passengers in 2010!

The closest ship in the photo, facing away toward the Atlantic Ocean, (with the dark stripe), is the Eclipse.  She is one of the newest and most energy efficient vessels currently in service. (She entered service in 2010) The Eclipse is an amazing 1,033’ long, 121’ wide, has 17 decks and she can carry 2,852 passengers with a crew of 1,271.  The Eclipse is owned by Celebrity Cruises.  For more information just go to

This ship, in the turning basin of Miami’s harbor, is the Carnival Valor.  She entered service in 2004 and she’s been updated twice since then, once in 2008 and then again in 2011.  The Valor weighs 110,000 tons, is 952’ long, measures 116’ across the beam and she has a draft of 27’.  With 13 decks, she can accommodate 2,974 passengers who are served by 1,180 crew members.  Her original cost was $500,000,000.  For more information, go to

The Dante B. Fascell Port of Miami was built on Dodge Island.  The island itself was formed by filling in between and around Dodge Island and 2 other islands.  As previously shown, the left side of the island serves most of the cruise ships.  However, the cargo/container ship portion to the right of the photo is the 11th largest cargo/container port in the USA…with 7,420,000 tons of cargo moving through its facilities in 2010.  In 2011, the port was responsible for supporting 176,000 jobs. 

Tunnels will be completed, (under the passenger side of the port), by 2014 that will connect the port directly to the nearby Interstate Highway…avoiding congestion in the downtown area.  Other port upgrades, coinciding with improvements of the Panama Canal, will allow the port to handle the new classes of container ships…which range up to 1,300’ long. 

One of the first adventures that we undertook on this trip was a visit to Miami’s Coconut Grove section of town.  The event was the 49th Annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival.  This is a very big event…with over 150,000 attendees over a 3-day period.  There were at least 360 internationally recognized artists from all over the world…the exhibits/booths/tents stretched along almost a mile of ocean front…3 or four deep in many places. 

In addition, there was a culinary pavilion, live music and a Global Food Village. (However, I must admit that the gyros we purchased were some of the worst we’ve ever had) Otherwise, this was a great event…only $10.00 to get in and beyond the art, some great people watching!  For additional information, go to

We really liked the atmosphere and the overall ‘look’ of Coconut Grove.  It was much more like a small town…very laid back with a relaxed feel to it.  From what I’ve learned, because of the outdoor space and the comfortable atmosphere in this area, a large number of festivals are held here each year.   

Coconut Grove is the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood of Miami.  Formerly, it was an independent city, but it was annexed by Miami in 1925.  A total of only 20,000 people live in the 5.6 square miles that comprise the ‘town’.  It’s loaded with lots of ethnic restaurants and outdoor cafes… 

One of our next stops was in Hollywood Florida, where Laurie, Dawn and myself met our friends Karen and Charlie for dinner, followed by dessert at their home.  Their friends and neighbors, Rick and Pat, stopped by as well.  Now that their Hollywood home has sold...Karen and Charlie are in the process of packing up and permanently moving to East Tennessee. Yippee!!!

(As usual Laurie isn’t in the photo because she’s the ‘official’ photographer.  From left to right…Karen, Charlie, Rick, Pat, Dawn Marie and myself)

I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t post a photo of the dessert that Karen and Charlie served us.  This is a Pineapple/Coconut Cake from Gino’s Italian Market in Hollywood Florida.  It was excellent!  Gino’s has been in business for over 3 decades.  Check it out at

…back to Dawn’s condo on Biscayne Boulevard.  This is a great place to live, with lots of services and facilities available to the residents.  This is a view of the pool/amenities floor, with the city lights in the background. 

This is a nighttime view of Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami…with Miami Beach on the horizon…not too bad!

 The tents to the left were being put up for Cavalia, a Montreal Quebec based company that specializes in large scale equestrian and performing arts productions.  Unfortunately, we left town before the show opened.  This show is called ‘Odysseo’… Another group from the same company is opening a 3 week stop in St. Louis, MO in the near future.  The tent alone requires 20 semi-trailers to move it.  It is the largest touring ten in the world, seating a total of  2,290 patrons.  For more on Cavalia, go to 
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. What wonderful views. It also sounds like a wonderful visit. I know you had a fabulous visit. I hope this day treats you kindly. Blessings...Mary

  2. Looks like a great trip and Dawn sure as a magnificent view.

  3. Dear Dave, I really enjoyed reading this post. It brought back many good memories of Florida. I haven't been to Fla. in almost 25 years, since my mom pasted away.
    I think it is just beautiful.
    I am glad that you and Laurie are enjoying life and making good memories with each other.
    Thank you for your visits and birthday wishes.
    Blessings to you my friends, Catherine

  4. Dear Papa, I love the gogrous boats and like I said before, I've always wanted to go to Miami! Love, Milo/Emmett

    P.S. Whoh, VideoGamer/David hasen't posted a comment here!